ClassicPress Organizational Structure

On January 22, 2019, The Founding Committee formalized the organizational structure of ClassicPress. In summary:

ClassicPress is an independent force with its own purpose. CP’s purpose is to provide a powerful, versatile, and predictable CMS platform tailored to the needs of the business website market.

It is characterized by self-organization and self-Management. CP has a decentralized structure consisting of small teams that take responsibility for their own governance and how they interact with other teams within the organization. People’s actions are guided by their understanding of the organization’s overall vision; they make decisions which best serve the organization’s purpose.

Organizational Structure

The organizational structure of CP is characterized by the ability to rapidly change and adapt to meet the expressed needs of the CP community.

The organization is built of self-managing teams, which consist of workers who fulfill the various roles within the teams. Power within the organization is distributed. Any person who senses a problem or opportunity can step up and initiate a process by which a topic can be discussed and the organization’s collective intelligence can be leveraged to assist in coming to a decision on the best path forward.

Team Decision-Making

Team decisions are made within the team using a simple advice process and/or conflict resolution process when appropriate. Members of other teams are brought into the discussion when they are affected by a team decision and can offer advice from their perspective, but ultimately the team tasked with carrying out the decision is the one who has the final say. This allows for coordination of efforts within and between teams. Meetings between teams or within teams generally take place on an as-needed basis, and may be real-time or via Slack or the forum.

Founding Committee

The Founding Committee Members are those who formed the initial committee for ClassicPress. These initial committee members were chosen by Scott Bowler (Director) and were also nominated by existing founding committee members. Founding Members can make decisions prior to the launch of v1 without a public vote. This is largely to make sure we can get v1 out the door quickly. Past v1, decisions made by this Founding Committee can be overruled following the democratic process of ClassicPress.

Once v1 has launched, current Founding Committee members will become members of the first ClassicPress Management Committee.

Management Committee

The Management Committee has three primary duties:

  • Ensure that CP activities and transactions are, first and foremost, advancing its mission and that all decisions are being made in the best interest of the organization as a whole (not an individual or small segment of the CP community).

  • Ensure that all CP assets — financial, personnel, and other assets — are utilized prudently.

  • Ensure that CP obeys any applicable laws and regulations, as well as its own bylaws and that the organization adheres to its stated mission and purposes.

Practically speaking, the committee gathers to discuss big picture items:

  • Review and decisions on activities and transactions that cannot be handled at the team level — usually new ideas that have not yet been taken on by a team. Many of these ideas should be transferred to the team level for execution and future implementation.

  • Review and approval of budget; regular reviews of spending and discussion of additional fundraising efforts.

  • Creation and periodic review and revision of Bylaws, Roadmap, and Mission; discussion of matters relating to same that cannot be handled at the team level

  • Reports by team leads on progress made and near future plans

  • Discussion/decisions on any other high level topics that cannot be handled at the team level.

The Management Committee will be made up of at least 12 members at any given time. Prospective committee members can be nominated by existing committee members. Election or re-election to the committee is based on consent of the majority of the other committee members. Each member reports and is accountable to others within the committee and takes part in making the wider, more overarching decisions which serve to propel the organization forward.

The committee may be made up of team leads, and it may include members who are not team leads. Not all team leads may be committee members. If a team lead is not a committee member, they should share a report of their team’s activities prior to each committee meeting. Committee members should be part of a team/teams within the organization (regardless of whether or not they are a team lead) and connect regularly with team leads who are not also committee members, to make sure that their needs are being addressed and that their team’s concerns are brought to the committee.

Committee Terms

Committee members will serve a finite term of 1 year, renewable for up to 3 years. After 3 years they must spend one year off the committee before they can be re-nominated for a second term of up to 3 years, for a total of 6 years. To continue the flow of knowledge from one committee to the next, terms should be staggered where possible, and incoming committee members should be given the opportunity to “grow into” their role on the committee. This can be handled in a number of ways, such as allowing them to participate in committee meetings prior to their full acceptance (voting status) on the committee, and/or creating a type of “mentorship”, where past committee members can continue as a mentor to the new member in a short-term advisory capacity, to assist in the transition.

Founding Committee members will retain special “advisory” status within the Management Committee after their departure from official service.

Checks and Balances

In addition to the checks and balances that will surely come from within the greater CP community (and beyond), ClassicPress committee members, team leads, and community members should strive to adhere to the following:

  • Feedback should be offered respectfully and with the greater good of CP in mind at all times.

  • Committee members and team leads should trust one another to give honest and constructive feedback to one another, and to listen & carefully consider when they are the recipient of respectful feedback.

  • Each member, whether a committee member, team lead, or CP community member, has a responsibility to the organization to sense issues or opportunities and address them — not just by complaining about them, but by initiating change and following through with executing the change. Through our words and by our example, we each can model the behavior we expect: If you’re going to speak up, you should be personally willing to roll up your sleeves and do something to execute a positive outcome.

  • There must be transparency in every area, so that members have access to the proper information to act and make informed decisions that are good for CP.

With every thing that we do within CP, we must ask ourselves: “Does this further the mission of ClassicPress?” If there is no clear and immediate “Yes”, we should shelve the idea for later or abandon it altogether.

Note: This document was edited 1/4/2020 to replace the word “Steering” with “Management”.


Thanks for all your work on this, and for posting it here where everyone can see and comment. It’s a formalization and clarification of the way the committee and teams have already been operating, as well as some planning for the future. Both of these are really good for ClassicPress.

For the founding committee, these terms could start with the release of v1, the inception of ClassicPress (however we decide when exactly that was), or at some other point.

My vote would be to have them start at January 1, 2019, to keep terms aligned with calendar years.


A post was split to a new topic: CP Org. Term Limits